After reviewing a series of investigations following the alleged sale of firearms to prohibited persons, the ATF is revoking the NICS background check exception for Alabama concealed-carry permit holders.
According to investigators, Alabama concealed-carry programs issued permits to individuals without completing background checks, in some cases, issued permits to individuals who failed their background checks, and, most critically, issued permits to felons and other federally prohibited persons.
These felon permit-holders were then able to purchase firearms without undergoing background checks at the point of sale. Due to these errors, the ATF no longer accepts Alabama concealed-carry permits as valid background check exemptions.
“Alabama CCP permits have been, and continue to be, issued to individuals without completion of a NICS check, or after a NICS denial,” said the ATF in their public safety advisory. “At least some of these permits were issued to felons and other federally prohibited persons who used them to purchase firearms from Alabama FFLs without a NICS check.”
“In addition, ATF has determined that some Alabama counties have not been requiring non-U.S. citizen CCP permit applicants to submit the information necessary to run the [Immigrant Alien Query], specifically, the place/country of birth and an alien registration or admission number.”
“Because county sheriffs have issued CCP permits s without completing a full NICS check, firearms have been transferred to felons and other prohibited individuals in violation of federal law, thereby creating a substantial public safety concern,” they said. “For this reason, the standards set forth in the Brady law require us to find that Alabama’s CCP permits no longer qualify as a NICS check alternative.”
“In the interest of public safety, and effective immediately, FFLs in Alabama may no longer accept CCP permits as an alternative to a NICS check,” said the ATF. “Unless another exception applies, a NICS check must be conducted whenever you transfer a firearm to an unlicensed person even if the individual presents an unexpired CCP permit.”
Prior to this decision, the ATF allowed Alabama gun stores and other FFLs to waive the federal background check process to anyone with a valid and recent state concealed-carry permit. The exemption went into place in February 2016.